Category Archives: The Stretch Zone


THE STRETCH ZONE – Fear can BECOME the Problem!!

When we step outside our comfort zone the fear that arises in the face of threatening situations is neither good nor bad, it is a natural response and nature’s way of charging us with an intense energy to meet adversity.

While the fear itself is NOT the problem (potential advantage) the intense energy can BECOME the problem pushing and pulling us in unhelpful directions if we do not bring the thinking that governs it under observation.

The encircling doubt that arises under pressure is the ‘thinking’ that hijacks fear as nature’s gift of energy, channeling it in the direction of the negative ‘thinking’ – and fear then pushes and pulls us all over the place.

Like a yacht’s sail harvests the wind’s energy, which is channeled constructively by way of the vessel’s rudder, when nature’s impulse of energy is channeled by doubt, intoxicated by negative thinking the fear becomes like a tempest pushing and pulling us indiscriminately, undermining our performance and potential in the process.

Question: When under the pressure of your stretch zone to what extent are you aware of the effect that unintentional doubt has on your emotional state – at the time?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Fear is NOT the Problem

When it really matters the pressure can be relentless and our confidence is often displaced by fear as we hold ourselves back unnecessarily, limiting our talent and potential for no reason other than ourselves.

Yet fear is not the problem, it is a natural response to threatening situations, to the unknown and unfamiliar, the same for everyone. Fear is an intense release of energy only waiting to be channeled constructively.

The problem is self-doubt as it miss channels the released energy destructively. Because our emotions follow the direction of our thinking, fear follows doubt with dire consequences.

Rather than suppressing fear under pressure we need to welcome it, channeling it constructively by dealing with doubt differently. No one doubts themselves on purpose, it is entirely unintentional. Doubt is an optional layer that ‘covers’ our natural confidence within – and no one creates it other than ourselves, so we just need to un-create it, ‘dis-covering’ a confidence that is congruent and authentic.

Question: When next will you need to step across the threshold of your comfort zone and how will you remember to channel your doubt differently?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Real Intention

As a learning facilitator and coach I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many amazing conversations, conversations that were remarkable given their flow in depth and perspective.

These conversations were exceptional for many reasons – knowledge, commitment, listening, questioning, measure, empathy, restraint, process, timing, sharing, confidence – and emotional connectedness.

Underlying and shaping each one of these important elements is intention – when we enter conversations with real intention it is as if everything else aligns, lining up as our ‘intention’ holds them ‘in-tension’.

Yet intention is easier said than done – especially with difficult conversations in our stretch zone. With masked intention, conscious or not, comes inner barriers that leak out creating outer barriers that limit conversation. With genuine intention authentic conversations follow – even in those difficult conversations.

Question: What effect would pausing to reflect on your inner intentions have on the nature and outcomes of the difficult conversations you are facing in your stretch zone at the moment?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Real Confidence

Yesterday I had the pleasure of bumping into Heather Campbell a colleague from years past whose company, CommsMasters, specialises in developing capability in having great conversations.

In our conversation about conversations we reflected that while there are all sorts of conversations to have content-wise there is really only one conversation to have process-wise – and that is the real conversation.

Unlike easy conversations, real conversations take us outside our comfort zones into the unfamiliar territory of our stretch zone – and under pressure it takes real confidence to have real conversations – not so easy!!

So long as organisations indulge in a culture of easy conversations, avoiding the real issues, nothing of substance really happens, undermining relationships, teams and achievement in the process. Sustainable success is about a culture of authentic confidence to have those real conversations that really matter most!!

Question: Reflecting back on the conversations you have had, personally and professionally, over the past week, to what extent do these conversations reflect easy conversations or real conversations?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Confidence & Arrogance!

In 2008 I had the pleasure of coaching Helen within a leadership context and, talking about confidence under pressure, she raised her concern ‘about the dividing line between confidence and arrogance’.

Given our stereotypical ideas about confidence as the opinionated, pushy so-and-so we all too often associate confidence with arrogance – a very real and avoid-at-all-costs concern.

Arrogance is nothing more than a manufactured pretence, a desperate attempt to mask underlying fear and doubt with a façade of pseudo-confidence – an unnecessary waste of effort and energy.

Authentic confidence has nothing to do with arrogance – it is congruent, the same on the outside as it is on the inside, and in it’s consistency an unassuming, honest, genuine, real and sustainable confidence emerges from within oneself as Helen so clearly demonstrates with presence and impact in her understated way.

Question: When under pressure in your STRETCH ZONE to what extent is your ‘inside’ congruent with your ‘outside’ with confidence anchored in humility?